Building Alliances Pt. 2, Connecting with Your Information Technology Department – Coffee Chat Teaser

Building Alliances – Part 2, Connecting with Your Information Technology Department. Join us March 19, 2021, 2-3pm E.T.

Register in advance for this meeting here: https://ksu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJctcu-gqDwoH9VpGJ2fNgeLni6R9upJMpp4

Ryan Leimkuehler, University Records Manager at Kansas State University and David Brown, Archivist and Head of Records Management Services as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will continue their discussions on how to establish Archives and Records Management Programs through the formation of strategic cross organizational alliances. Our March discussion will focus upon fostering a productive mutually beneficial relationship with your organization’s information technology staff.

Our discussion will begin like this:

Dave: Establishing an effective records management program can be achieved in a myriad of ways which are often specific to the organization where you work. However, if your goal is to institute a dynamically proactive 21st century records and information management program that is not continually reacting to new technologies and systems after they have been added to your organization’s enterprise architecture, then you must foster a collaborative partnership with your organization’s information technology staff.

Ryan: The perspective I will bring to the discussion will focus on how you move your program from a fledgling records management program to one that builds relationships and has mutually beneficial collaborations. Dave is right, and I wholeheartedly support him, that a modern records program needs to be aligned with the interests and needs of the IT department. This is also a two way street. I have been a part of reactionary records management when our University went on Covid-19 lockdown and all employees were pushed to working from home and started the use of Microsoft Teams and OneDrive. Through these reactions, I was able to start the process of embedding myself in IT committees, working groups, and policy/procedure discussions. While the pipelines and procedures are not perfect now we are in a much better position to adapt to the new technology that will inevitably arrive.

From here, the discussion could go in many directions depending on the interactions of our colleagues. Some questions we will consider are:

·         What is the context of your relationship with IT in your institutions?

·         Who are your key partners in IT?

·         How do you develop a relationship with IT?

·         What can you expect (the twists and turns of maintaining an RM/IT collaboration)? 

Register for RIM Month Virtual Colloquium, April 7th 1-3pm EST!

Register

The SAA Records Management Section invites you to attend our free (!) RIM month virtual colloquium highlighting records and information management issues. Mark your calendars for April 7th, 2021 1pm-3pm EST.

Outline of Event:

7 wonderful presenters working in records management, with 7 minute lightning round presentations (see below!).

30 minutes will be allocated for discussion and questions following the lightning rounds.

Presentation order

All are welcome to attend.

Presenters:

Angela Ossar, Office of the Governor of Texas

Incorporating RIM into HR Onboarding/Offboarding

This short presentation will discuss the ways that RIM is incorporated into the onboarding and offboarding of employees at the Office of the Governor of Texas. In addition to presenting at New Employee Orientation on a biweekly basis, the Records Management Officer developed RIM Entrance & Exit Checklists to ensure smooth transitions. The checklists are required for all incoming and departing employees and were developed in consultation with IT, Legal, and HR.

Hillary Gatlin, Duke University

Surveying and Collecting Electronic Records

With COVID-19 restricting our ability to collect and preserve physical materials, Duke University Archives has changed its focus to collecting electronic university records of historical value. This presentation will discuss the process of surveying and reviewing these records in situ, provide examples of inventories that are useful for Technical Services staff, and discuss lessons learned as the Records Management program continues collecting university records despite physical restrictions.

Betty Shankle, University North Texas Health Science Center

Wrangling a Struggling RIM Program

Backlog of records awaiting transfer to off-site storage, check; outdated records management software, check; dated records transmittal and disposition forms, check; and no RIM workflow in place, check. Inheriting a struggling records management program can be daunting; however, it is manageable. From creating a network of Records Management Representatives across campus to upgrading RIM software that is seven versions behind, step by step records management can be wrangled.

Alexander Hughes and Shannon Gavin Johnson, Troup County Archives

Redeveloping relationships with records creators

The Troup County Archives works with three different local government entities to provide records management services. These relationships began in the 1980s but became strained within recent years. Troup County Archives leadership worked to redevelop these relationships and found great success. A budget increase and an intergovernmental renovation of the largest records storage facility occurred in 2019. This presentation seeks to show how these relationships were redeveloped and archival advocacy occurred.

Beth Cron, National Archives and Records Administration

Records Management Requirements for Systems

Have you ever been tasked with coming up with records management requirements and don’t know where to start? Beth will share how you can use NARA’s Universal Electronic Records Management Requirements as a starting point when identifying how to meet records management requirements when procuring or implementing a new system.

Jessie Graham and Anita Vannucci, University of Virginia

Going Remote: Moving RIM Training to a Virtual World

The move to remote work at UVA during the COVID-19 pandemic called for a new approach to RIM training. The RIM Team identified cheap and easy ways to take training virtual via live Zoom sessions and on-demand pre-recorded courses. In this session, the RIM Team will discuss ways we modified content and made virtual training more accessible. We will look at the tools we used and lessons learned along the way.

Coffee Chat: Email Archiving!

Link to virtual meeting

February 19th 2pm- 3pm EST

Please join the Records Management and College & Universities Sections as they co-host our next coffee chat on the exciting topic of email archiving! Our fabulous chat guides will be Krista Oldham of Clemson University and Jessika Drmacich of Williams College. Come participate, listen, or just observe!

Teasers below!

Krista Oldham, Clemson University

A Record is a Record is a Record. Sound familiar? I bet that if you are a records manager, or have records management responsibilities, you have probably heard this phrase if you haven’t said it yourself. I can certainly say that I’ve used this phrase countless times when speaking with records creators about their digital records-especially email. During that conversation I inform them that emails, like paper records, need to be managed in accordance with federal and state laws and university policies. At some point, I also get to inform them that not all records are valued equally and the ones that, as the University Archivist, I am concerned about are the emails that have enduring value.  After this statement I am usually met with a “Well how do you do that?” or a “Do you have a system in place that takes care of all of that?” My response of late has been “We’re working on that.” Preserving emails is not a small undertaking. Email by its nature presents challenges to archival preservation including the variety of email message formats, message components, and the interrelationships between messages and attachments. Managing email at a large scale presents another significant challenge. Before identifying the technology/application(s) needed and developing workflows for email archiving, archivists and records managers should focus on having policies and partnerships in place to encourage compliance and buy-in from their record creators. For the past six months, the Records Management Team at Clemson University has been doing this type of work. At our next coffee chat I will share my experience and encourage conversation with attendees and their experience nurturing collaborative partnerships for email archiving. 

Jessika Drmacich, Williams College

Effectively navigating email collection, preservation, and access involves extensive work in the beginning of emails’ lifecycle. Institutional cultural change and building effective technical workflows are also crucial. At Williams College, email is considered record of the College as stated in our records policy; however, compliance for email as record is entirely another story (in other words, it’s super hard!). As Records Manager, I work with units helping them identify records and help guide records to their appropriate destination at the end of their life cycle. As digital resources archivist, I create access for and preserve digital materials. With these areas of focus with my work, I decided to start small in my venture to collect email as record. Working with a colleague in IT, we created a sustainable workflow for capturing both MBOX format and PDFs of email as artifact. Also, I worked with administration to be added to various all-campus listservs. This grouping of all-campus emails are now my first *email as record* accession. At our upcoming coffee chat I hope to discuss my own workflows, but also ponder:

  1. Is pdf format enough to capture email as artifact and record?
  2. Creating access for email collections: RATOM, EPADD.
  3. Incorporating access for embargoed emails. Example: preserved emails only available to a small section of campus?
  4. What about cultural shifts? How do we effectively advocate for email to be considered record at private institutions?
  5. Email in the time of Covid: more important than ever. Let’s reflect!

Records and Information Management Month Virtual Colloquium

For Records and Information Management month (April), the SAA Records Management Section is seeking proposals for 5-7 minute presentations on the topic of records management. If you are interested in presenting or participating please complete the following survey questions regarding the colloquium no later than Feb 17th, 2021. We will notify presenters the week of Feb 23rd, 2021. The date/time of the virtual colloquium will be shared at that time too!

The event will be free!

Send any questions or concerns to saarecordsmanagement@gmail.com or committee chair, Jessika Drmacich (jgd1@williams.edu)

Survey

Building Alliances – Coffee Chat Teaser

Building Alliances – Part 1, Where to Start? Join us January 8, 2021, time 1:00pm Central Time Register for the event here: https://ksu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkcuirqzgvGtFkHPGooCNqJPEw-NW36N31

Ryan Leimkuehler, University Records Manager at Kansas State University and David Brown, Archivist and Head of Records Management Services as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will hold a series of discussions on how to establish Archives and Records Management Programs through the formation of strategic cross organizational alliances. The goal of these discussions is to be interactive with our colleagues and the format is an initial discussion by Ryan and Dave that over the course of an hour expands to include those who have joined the event.

A typical discussion would go like this:

Dave: I think that one’s ability to forge cross organizational alliances is just as essential to successfully building and maintaining an archives and records management program as your professional knowledge and expertise. What do you think of that statement?

Ryan: I think it is critical that we form alliances and build bridges wherever possible. Just anecdotally, I have heard stories of records managers who can do very little outside of their core area because they are either not trusted or not understood across the organization. In my case with Kansas State University, a lot of this groundwork was already established, but I knew I needed to strengthen the ties and relevance to other areas outside of the University Libraries. To meet these ends we formed the Records and Information Management Committee (RIMC) and identified key offices across campus who should be represented such as: the office of the registrar, general counsel, faculty representation, office of research, human capital services, open records officer, and IT. Through this group, we established a foothold in critical offices and our work in developing retention schedules and improved efficiencies/training has justified our existence for other offices not represented on the records committee. I also developed a training program so we can meet offices ‘where they are’ and move them to ‘where we want them to be.’ So far it is Shared-Drive Clean-Up training and Records Management 101 with various on demand trainings upon request such as email management. Without this committee and our training activities, I do not believe we would be nearly as effective as we are right now and in full disclosure, we have a long way to reach every office on campus.

Dave: When starting a job in a new organization, for me, the two most important things to know about your records and information management program (RIM) are: 1) where you are; and 2) where you want to go. These two data points are your guideposts to how you are perceived and identifies the key organizational collaborators you need to engage to either enhance or change the perception of your program.

Ryan: I agree that those two data points are important in determining next steps in any RIM program. When I came onboard KSU I knew that I was the first records manager for the university. I also had some prior knowledge of the organization in my role as government records archivist for the Kansas Historical society. We collaborated on starting the process of updating their retention schedule that was passed in the 90’s and never updated since. So with that knowledge going into my position I knew I needed to leverage the Records and Information Management committee (RIMC) and develop a training program to justify our relevance and value we could offer to offices we worked with.  In the three years I have been at KSU we have updated most of the previous retention schedule and brought many unofficial retention schedules and policies up to date and made them official by working through the State Records Board.

An inventory of personal skills is also useful for a department of one, like myself, or of your team. In my case I know I am comfortable teaching/training and thus the training program made sense for me to pursue early on. I also know that I have various soft skills that are useful in repairing damage done or building new bridges.

From here, the discussion could go in many directions depending on the interactions of our colleagues. Some possible topics might be:

  • Who are the likely allies for you to target?
  • How do you repair any damage done to your program prior to your arrival?
  • Are there alliances you can build outside of your organization?
  • Have you had challenges dealing with some administration or departments who do not see our value? how can I change their minds?

The future of RIM education

We had a great conversation with folks last week about what has worked for them and what they need in the field of records and information management education. As is the case with most things in the RIM field, it depends — more specifically, what people need in a training/education sense depends on where they are professionally and what resources they have to devote to their own professional development.

Here are some interesting comments, suggestions, and evaluations that were shared:

  • The content of most grad school RIM classes is too theoretical, so there’s a disconnect to RIM in practice.
  • It would be great to see RIM systems demoed by practitioners instead of having to sit through vendor-supplied sessions that are more sales pitch than practical evaluation.
  • Many existing training programs can be prohibitively expensive, especially for those new to the profession or without support for professional development.
  • Some existing training programs are too superficial to be of much use while others are too rigid and go into topics in depth that may not be relevant to all participants. There needs to be a good in-between option.
  • What’s the most effective way to allow emerging professionals to benefit from the expertise of more seasoned RIM professionals? Is it a formal mentoring program, or would something else work better?

Topics on which folks would like to see training opportunities:

  • Creating/refining retention and disposition schedules
  • Crossing over from traditional archives work into RIM
  • Starting a new RIM program
  • Conducting RIM outreach to colleagues and building alliances and mentoring relationships within the workplace
  • Surveying records
  • Developing RIM training for constituents and assessing its effectiveness
  • Researching legal requirements for records (retention and confidentiality)
  • Incorporating graduate assistants effectively into RIM work
  • Advocating for the resources needed for RIM work
  • Making RIM part of HR onboarding/offboarding
  • Storage and carrying out paper/digital migrations
  • Planning and carrying out a digitization initiative

Possible avenues to pursue:

  • Our new case study series might help to bridge the gap between theory and practice. You can find the overview here. Be thinking about what experiences you can share that could benefit someone else in the profession.
  • One suggestion was to have a Toastmasters sort of group that could get together to workshop training/workshops you plan to present to constituents. Let us know if you would be interested in participating in something like this.
  • Now that more of us are conducting workshops virtually, should we try to publicize upcoming training events that could accommodate “guests” who might be interested in learning from another RIM colleague/seeing how they present similar content?

In the long run, taking a wide approach to answering this question about RIM education is probably the best. So expect to see everything from more coffee chats to webinars to new SAA courses — and maybe even a track or certificate program somewhere down the line.

As always, if you have thoughts or feedback, please feel free to reach out to the Steering Committee at saarecordsmanagement@gmail.com.

RIM education chat this Friday

The RMS steering committee spent a good portion of last year investigating various RIM educational opportunities.  You can view our findings here.

Now we’d like to have a conversation with our community to find out what topics and levels of depth are needed to support you in your work and your professional development.  Join us this Friday (December 11) at 2pm ET for a Zoom chat.  You are not required to have a camera available, though you are certainly welcome to use one.  Most important will be having access to speakers and a microphone so you can participate in the conversation (although if you at least have a keyboard, you could participate via chat rather than orally).  You can register for the session and receive the Zoom login information by registering here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIkfu6vqjktGNGI20qf9UUQgpXsdS7Ms_wW

If we were to design a track program through SAA Education, here are some already existing courses that could be included:

• Records Management Introduction
• Basics of Managing Digital Records
• Change Management: How Do You Tackle It?
• Records Management for Archivists
• Train the Trainer: Building a Successful Continuing Education Course
• Designing and Presenting Effective Online Learning
• Email Archiving: Strategies, Tools, Techniques

What else needs to be added?  Is there sufficient interest in a certificate program?  Are there folks who’d be interested in teaching particular topics?

Bring your questions and suggestions to this session.  If you need any further information, please feel free to reach out to the steering committee leadership at saarecordsmanagement@gmail.com.  We look forward to your joining us on Friday.

Announcing the new RM Case Studies series

SAA’s Records Management Section is excited to announce the launching of a new peer-reviewed case study series under the umbrella of SAA Publications. This series seeks to support the practical as well as the theoretical and scholarly aspects of the records and information management (RIM) profession.

Suggested case study length is 2,500 to 5,000 words.  Elements of the case study include:

  • introduction
  • background/prior relevant work/institutional context
  • challenge addressed
  • strategies and resources employed
  • analysis of successes and setbacks
  • future plans

Illustrations, including tables, charts, images, etc., are welcome and should be embedded in the Word document.  Authors are responsible for understanding and following the principles that govern the “fair use” of quotations and illustrations and for obtaining written permission to publish, where necessary.  Accuracy in citations is also the author’s responsibility.

A submission will not be considered if it is being reviewed by another publishing outlet at the same time, nor if it has been published previously.  

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.  All members of the RIM community are welcome to submit case studies.  The submission form can be found at https://www2.archivists.org/sites/all/files/RMCaseStudySubmissionForm.docx.  Submissions will be reviewed by two members of the Records Management Section and evaluated according to a rubric.  The reviewers will send their analysis to the Chair of the Records Management Section within 3 weeks of receipt; the Chair will then review the feedback and make a publication recommendation to SAA’s Publications Editor.  Within 5 weeks after submission, the case study author will be notified of the publication decision.

SAA will provide light copyediting and, in some instances, may also request minor revisions to be made by the author.  The author will approve the final version.  SAA will format the case study and post it on its website as a PDF.  Copyright of the case study will remain with the author, and SAA will acknowledge that in the copyright line that will appear with the case study.  Authors will consent, grant, and assign to SAA the right to publish and/or distribute all or any part of the case study throughout the world in electronic or any other medium.  

Any questions prior to submission can be sent to saarecordsmanagement@gmail.com.

Onboarding in the time of Covid-19

Jes Martell, of Penn State, discusses onboarding for her new records management position during the time of Covid-19:

There is no better feeling than nailing an interview and getting offered the position you were hoping for. Starting a new job is an exciting opportunity to explore your potential within a business, company, or institution, and yet the first few weeks in your new position often present a new set of challenges that you may not have necessarily planned to encounter. What will a day in this new job look like? How will I build relationships with my peers and co-workers? And, of course, what will the onboarding process and job training be like? When I accepted my job offer for the position of Records Center Specialist at the Pennsylvania State University in March of 2020, I had all of these same feelings and thoughts running through my head. Unbeknownst to me, I would face the obstacle of onboarding during a pandemic that was just around the corner. In this post, I will be sharing my experience stepping into my new role in Records Management during the time of COVID-19.  

Just after, I accepted my job offer, the governor announced a state-wide closure of all non-essential businesses. At this time, I wasn’t sure how this might affect my job offer at the University. The hiring manager was fully honest with me about the situation. Penn State University would be experiencing a hiring freeze and we were unsure what this would mean for my onboarding. While this possibility was scary to consider, I appreciated the transparency. Luckily, I made the cut-off and was able to be onboarded into the Office of Records Management team.  

The Records Center, which normally operates at full-time hours during the week, would be required to cut back operations to three days a week. On my first day at work, we began by establishing Records Center operations during COVID and implementing safety plans to help mitigate the spread of the virus. This included use of separate offices, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves, enhanced cleaning, maintaining physical distancing at all times of at least 6 feet or more, and video conferencing for all meetings. As a new employee, it was reassuring to know that my team would be taking all precautions to keep us safe during these uncertain times. As a large majority of my position requires physical labor, I was also able to observe and be trained on the physical aspects of my job, such as records destruction and operation of machinery, during my first week of work. 

The two days of the week that I wasn’t working on-site, I was assigned a laptop and webcam to work remotely. I never worked from home before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being so new, I hoped that I would still be able to be productive and contribute to projects as part of the team. Working remotely those two days allowed me the time to complete the necessary University onboarding requirements such as HR remote document verification, selection of benefits, on-line lift training, and IT tech orientation. While working at home, I was also able to assist my team with a shared drive migration project. Each member of our team was assigned folders within the shared drive to review, after confirming that all records inside of those folders were still necessary to keep, I was responsible for moving the records from our previous file-sharing application, Box, to Microsoft SharePoint. We also used this time to review our Records Center website. I reviewed each page on our website and made notes about any suggestions that I had and we shared our edits as a team during our daily meetings. By the end of the first week, I was feeling much more confident in my ability to learn both on-site duties and be an active team member remotely. On Friday, April 3rd, we received notice that the Records Center would be shut down completely until further notice in response to COVID and would operate on an on-call request basis only.  

For the following 10 weeks, we made a few brief appearances at the Records Center once or twice weekly to provide access to records for life-sustaining services, such as Human Resources, University Health Services, and Penn State Law. I used those on-site opportunities to do as much hands-on work as possible in hopes that when we did return full-time, I would feel confident in my ability to successfully operate the Records Center. I felt optimistic that I would be able to learn the physical duties required of my position; the biggest mystery for me was learning Records Management. I did not have much of a background working in the field prior to this role, so I knew there would be a lot for me to learn.  

One of the most valuable tools that my team has been using during the remote work period is Microsoft Teams. We use the application for all meetings, including our daily morning meetings which give us the opportunity to touch base on projects, talk about current events, and get to know one another, as I had only met a few of my team members in-person once at this point. We also used Microsoft Teams to provide Records Management training for me on topics such as audits, litigation holds, University policies, records retention schedules and many others. My team invited me to consultation meetings with different departments at the University so that I could observe the retention schedule creation process for a variety of records. I was also included in meetings with departments we work closely with, such as Human Resources, Archives, and General Counsel, to introduce myself and ask any questions I had. In a way, I feel that the pandemic afforded me additional undivided attention for training sessions and opportunities to ask questions that perhaps I may not have had otherwise during what would typically be very busy weeks had we been working on-site. I felt surprisingly positive about how well I was able to learn remotely.  

By the beginning of June, our Team was feeling ready to return to on-site operations, so we submitted the required “PSU Return-To-Work” proposal for consideration and on June 10th, we were approved for a partial return-to-work schedule of 3 days per week for 6 hours per day. Although I was somewhat anxious returning on-site with the virus still very much present in Pennsylvania, I knew that my team was taking all precautions to keep me safe and it was always made very clear to me that if at any time I did not feel comfortable working on site, there would be no hesitation in accommodating my concerns. As a new employee, this was extremely comforting to me and it meant a lot knowing that the focus was not on productivity at this time, but instead on our health and safety as individuals.  

As of August 24th, the Records Center is open again and I have returned to work full-time alongside the Records Center Manager. With her guidance, I have become fully competent in my physical duties working on-site and, thanks to my entire team, I feel confident and knowledgeable in the space of Records Management. Stepping into a new job position in a remote environment presented me with many challenges but also a lot of opportunities for individualized training. In my opinion, the most valuable resource that I had while onboarding was my team. If you have a patient, supportive team dedicated to helping you grow and succeed then you too can survive onboarding, even in a pandemic!